It’s officially Q4, which means if you haven’t already, you’re likely (READ: should be) planning your 2024 marketing strategy. Well, I'm here to help you clarify what your 2024 event strategy should include.
Here are the three shifts in events I predict you’ll see popping up as we head into the new year.
When Amy Porterfield, the Queen of digital courses and online education, says that she 100% believes the industry is leaning more towards in-person events than virtual – you listen.
When Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, tells Forbes just a couple of weeks later, “A lot of events aren’t virtual anymore. I have to evolve myself. So, too, must Zoom,” – you believe it.
If companies built online are seeing the value of in-person events, it’s worth considering for your business too right? Now we’re talking the same language.
Community and connection...
In 2019, I witnessed an alarming number of clients and event organizers struggling to drive attendance to their events. When I jumped in to help, I noticed many of them were making the same simple mistakes over and over again. The advice I offered was simple but yet often overlooked:
It all comes down to this riding principle: Don’t make assumptions and stick to the basic principles of a solid event (aka have a very clear understanding of your 5 Ws):
1. Who is your target market?
2. Where do they consume their media?
3. What is your event elevator pitch (one paragraph that defines what the event is and why it’s being held?)
- What are the top 5-10 features that are going to excite attendees?
- What makes your event different to any other event in the market?
- What problem does your event solve?
4. When are all of the industry and/or competitive events being held? Where possible, I always advise teams not to...
Two (of the many) factors to consider when planning an event, but specific to this step are:
1. Holding your team members accountable
2. Keeping things moving forward
How do you do this when all you see is a mountain of to-do’s and no idea where to start? You break things down into smaller, more manageable tasks by creating a project plan and event timeline.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Select Your Project Management Software
Just like I outlined in Step 5: Create & Manage A Budget, while there are many project management software options on the market, I rely on the simple, yet effective, Google Sheets for every event I produce. Why do I choose Google Sheets over a purpose-built software program? In case you missed Step 5, here are just a few of the reasons:
- GSuite is a one-stop-shop for my entire team - including our clients and vendors - and the fact that it’s a live document ensures everyone is well-informed and up to date on how we’re...
Budget management is one of the most critical aspects of event management.
In Step 3: Define Your Event Scope, you stated your anticipated profit or allowable spend (approved loss). Now it’s time to line item costs for each aspect of your event, factoring in your anticipated revenue streams to ensure you can comfortably deliver your vision on-, or below-, budget.
Here’s how I do this:
1. Select Your Budget Management Software
While there are many budget management software options on the market, I rely on the simple, yet effective, Google Sheets for every event I produce. Why do I choose Google Sheets over a purpose-built software program?
- GSuite is a one-stop-shop for my entire team - including our clients and vendors - and the fact that it’s a live document ensures everyone is well-informed and up to date on how we’re tracking against our profit goal or allowable spend in real time. No need for multiple versions to be floating...
The foundation of success on event day relies on a simple, yet uber important element: a team of skilled and experienced event and marketing professionals.
Whether they are internal or external support, you’ll need more than just yourself to plan, manage and deliver your event. But how do you know who is the right fit?
Here’s my three-step process:
1. Conduct An Initial Vetting Meeting
Armed with the event scope you created when completing Step 3: Define Your Event Scope, you should now know exactly what it is you’re planning to deliver and which aspects of the event you require additional support with.
Set up an initial conference call with all potential contractors or third party agencies so you can shortlist your favorites PRIOR to sharing your event scope with them. This will help ensure you’re receiving honest answers rather than those potentially guided by what they think you want to hear.
Use open-ended questions as this provides the...
Your Event Scope is a high-level document that outlines your who, what, where, when, why, and how clearly for all parties involved in the event.
The key is to keep it simple and straightforward. Just like the Grandparent or Neighbor Test with your messaging (we’ll get to that in Step 7), your goal is to be able to hand this to a new team member or stakeholder and, after reading it, they should be able to explain:
1. What you’re planning
2. Why you’re planning it
3. For whom you’re planning it
4. Where and when it will take place
5. How you’re going to deliver it
Here’s a simple template I use to outline my Event Scopes.
This should include all of the logistical details like the event name, date, location, timing, venue, address, website and attendee estimate, as well as contact information for you, the project lead.
Mission & Goals
Here, you simply copy and paste the mission and goals you...
A common question I receive is “How do you measure the success of an event?”
The answer is simple: It’s a mixture of hitting the mark on both qualitative and quantitative KPIs.
However, to know whether we hit them, we first need to define them.
Prior to the initial kickoff meeting for every event my team produces, we sit down with the client to outline the goals they’d like to achieve. On the qualitative side, that includes things like attendee feedback, testimonials, overheard onsite conversations and thoughts on programming, as well as the overall energy of the room.
When it comes to quantitative KPIs, we are talking about elements like attendee growth or retention, sponsorship dollars, revenue targets, press hits, or overall attendee and stakeholder feedback.
If exact targets (i.e. dollar figures or percentages of growth) had not previously been cited, this meeting is the perfect time to get...
Your mission, aka your ‘purpose’ or ‘why’, is a short statement (2-3 sentences) that describes your big-picture objective and the reason for your event’s existence. No matter whether you’re planning and delivering a virtual, hybrid or in-person format, an effective event mission statement provides a solid foundation and framework to guide your decision making throughout the entire planning process.
A mission statement should include these elements:
1. Event name
2. Overall objective
3. Target audience
4. Event format and features
Here is a great example:
South By Southwest dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. An essential destination for global professionals, the event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. The purpose of SXSW is to create an opportunity for “creative people to develop their careers by bringing together people from...